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Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Review

Dark Souls II’s younger, sexier sister may have everyone’s immediate attention at the moment, but the older sibling still has a few tricks up its sleeve and should not be ignored. Despite having the cores based on almost the same principles, these are two very different games. One rewards being overly aggressive, while the other will, more often than not, punish you for it.

Game: Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Reviewed on: (Review copy provided)

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So what can you expect other than a repackaging of the original Dark Souls II tittle with all its DLC? Well first, if you have yet to play this title that should be enough. It is a startlingly realized game that will take you into 80-hour mark without hesitation. Whether it is better or worse than its predecessors is neither here nor there. So I implore you to check out our original review here.

Your immediate and most notable change will be graphical. Naturally, being released on a more powerful piece of hardware brings its benefits and while not reaching Bloodborne’s level of fidelity, it is still very noticeable. More detailed character models and environments are appreciated and can make for some pretty sights, but the new lighting system is the show stealer.  Now some of the darker dungeons actually play out as intended, with the need for a torch to light the way a necessity rather than decoration.

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The other notable change would be enemy placement. Upon revisiting some of the earlier zones you might have a few “WTF, that wasn’t there before” moments. It’s hard to tell if this was the original vision for the game that was held back by technical restraints or if the development team just wanted to screw with returning fans. Either way what we have here is a slightly harder game that somewhat reminds me of replaying Ocarina of Time in the Master Quest mode. Expect the game to play on your previous knowledge a little.

There seem to be some slight changes to the tooltips too. The game now informing you which npc’s do what when you unlock them. No longer will the uninitiated run miss the leveling npc for instance due to failing to talk to her enough times for example.

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This new fangled sexy update does not come without its issues though. The durability bug seems to still be in place for some odd reason. This means that weapons break they were made out of toothpicks. In the early stages of the game I managed to break both of my main weapons and four others I picked up along the way on trash mobs. In the long run this means you have to be more prepared for every situations, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying from a software standpoint. It’s just bad coding. (Ed’s note: a fix has been promised for this in an upcoming patch)

VERDICT

Irritating pseudo bugs aside, there is no question; this is the shiniest version of Dark Souls II to date. If you are looking for the complete package and would like to play the game the way it was meant to be played (durability bug not withstanding) consider the PC update debunked and look no further. Fans of the series may find something here too with the slight enemy reorientation.

9/10

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